Waiting in the rain for the unveiling of the plaque
The occasion was the official opening of the Ladder Hill Business Park in Half Tree Hollow which contains a variety of businesses such as, Cater Hire, Jewellery design and Maintenance Services. The business park didn’t exist a few years ago and has been created as part of the improvements to business locations across St Helena.
The event was also fashioned to remind guests that we only have 32 more months before the airport arrives and the first planes land! Our brief was to provide a short menu of easy to eat products at a reasonable price from local ingredients for up to 100 persons.
The menu consisted of three items; local Tuna or Wahoo Steaks or a Veggie Burger served in a bun with salad and a choice of relishes. The food was to be cooked and served by our trainees with just a little supervision from us trainers. There was also a request for a cake.
Two of the park tenants cutting the cake!
The day before the event we set to work on mountains of lettuce, tomatoes and of course the fish. When ingredients are as fresh and as good quality as they are over here it is a real pleasure to work with them.
In fact when we were prepping the tuna, I took some of the smaller slices and put them into a marinade of ginger, lemon juice and salt for a minute or two and then we ate them! This might not sound so significant but getting the trainees to eat raw tuna when all they have seen in the past is cooked is some challenge let me tell you! The verdict by the way was positive although not something they would eat at home.
Friday loomed with grey skies and a 25mph wind from the south east (it's winter here) which when translated onto the hillside where the business park lies, meant horizontal blasts of wind and rain punctuated by occasional shots of bright sunshine……a British spring day. Luckily we were sheltered by a large gazebo which rattled and shook throughout the afternoon but held fast to the bitter end.
The team got to work with great professionalism and zeal and took to serving food outdoors as if they had been doing it all their lives. At times the queues were long and the students had to communicate with their customers that their food might take a few minutes; all done in good cheer with smiles and eye contact….Brilliant!!
Grilling with a sea view
Feedback from the customers was very positive throughout the event.
For example one gentleman came up to me after his second fish roll to suggest that perhaps we should set up permanently on a Saturday evening in town.
When I asked what sort of times he was thinking of, the response was something along the lines of “well if you open around 9.00pm and keep going until 2.00am you should do good business”……..maybe in another lifetime I think!
Having said that, it shows there is a market on St Helena for good food of whatever style and there are many business opportunities over here increasing toward the arrival of the airport.
Even if some are in the middle of the night!